DT 28703 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 28703

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 28703

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Happy 50th Birthday to Jeremy from BD and all at the blog!

Hello, everyone.  I found a lot to smile at in this puzzle full of smooth surfaces and clever misdirection.  While there is a sprinkling of general knowledge the relevant answers are all gettable from the wordplay, which I think is how it should be done.  I thought that the level of difficulty was about average for a Tuesday. 

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and most indicators are italicized  Clicking on the buttons will reveal the answers.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will either enlarge it or display a bonus illustration.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Lofty language from Queen, racing old fancy? (14)
GRANDILOQUENCE:  An anagram (fancy) of QUEEN RACING OLD.  The answer nicely describes itself, so it's an example of an autological word

9a    First in space (7)
OPENING:  A double definition.  An adjective as in first act or first batsman, and a noun meaning space or gap

10a   Available for one agitated about fine (2,5)
ON OFFER:  An anagram (agitated) of FOR ONE containing (about) the pencil abbreviation for fine

11a   Cut good durable wood (4)
GASH:  Put together the abbreviation for good and a tough hardwood used for axe handles, oars, etc.

12a   Lacking prudence, popular record about Eastern tenor (10)
INDISCREET:  Concatenate the usual word for popular, another name for a vinyl record, a usual word for about or concerning, and abbreviations for English and for tenor

14a   Jacket kept in van, or a kagoule (6)
ANORAK:  The answer is hidden in (kept in) the remainder of the clue

15a   Blows up, as final set botched (8)
INFLATES:  An anagram (botched) of FINAL SET

17a   Retire and sketch (8)
WITHDRAW:  Put together synonyms of "and" and "sketch"

18a   Religious teacher and head of theology talk inconsequentially (6)
RABBIT:  Follow a Jewish religious teacher by the first letter of (head of) Theology

21a   Method of deciding winner of European holiday in bank (3-7)
TIE-BREAKER:  An abbreviation for European and a holiday or some time off are inserted in a bank or a row

22a   Jolly place to eat, once car's parked (4)
VERY:  Delete CAR (… once CAR's parked) from a restaurant serving meat sliced from a joint

24a   Are all sozzled imbibing English beer? (4,3)
REAL ALE:  An anagram (sozzled) of ARE ALL containing (imbibing) an abbreviation for English

25a   Resolve shown by press on strike (4,3)
IRON OUT:  A charade of press (clothes) and on strike (from work)

26a   Likewise, purchase an identical disc on the phone (2,3,4,5)
BY THE SAME TOKEN:  Spoken aloud (on the phone), the answer sounds like a phrase that could mean "purchase an identical disc"



1d    Girl in Black Sea republic -- in a state? (7)
GEORGIA:  A triple definition.  The third one appears in this song:

2d    Type of psychiatric treatment, a type they criticise internally (8,7)
AVERSION THERAPY:  Stick together A from the clue, type or edition, and THEY containing a word meaning criticise (… criticise internally

3d    Platform one shown in blue, northbound (4)
DAIS:  The Roman numeral for one is inserted in (shown in) the reversal (northbound, in a down clue) of blue or depressed

4d    Superstar on edge (6)
LEGEND:  Fuse together another name for the on side of a cricket field and a synonym of edge

5d    Share not quite worked out (8)
QUOTIENT:  An anagram (worked out) of NOT QUITE

6d    Something worn at a college later on, possibly once pass received (4,6)
ETON COLLAR:  An anagram (possibly) of LATER ON containing a usual mountain pass (once pass received)

7d    Something to scan at the dentist's? (6-5,4)
COFFEE-TABLE BOOK:  A cryptic definition of reading material that might be found in a dentist's waiting room

8d    Deserter captured by soldiers from America gets free (6)
GRATIS:  An informal word for one who deserts his friends or associates is inserted in (captured by) some American infantrymen

13d   Hot air socialist research centre's served up with elan (10)
BALDERDASH:  Cement together informal words for a socialist and a type of research centre.  Then reverse that lot (served up, in a down clue) and append a synonym of elan or style.  If this answer gave you a feeling of déjà vu and has you wondering how often such coincidences occur, click here for the data

16d   Competition must be held inside without rugby club (8)
SARACENS:  A type of competition, possibly involving running or driving, is inserted in (must be held inside) a preposition meaning without (used, e.g., in the term for typefaces without serifs).  The answer is a London rugby club

17d   Bitter about tea brewed that's weak (6)
WATERY:  Bitter or ironic is wrapped around (about) an anagram (brewed) of TEA

19d   Greek god circling close to Troy in attempt to deceive (3,2,2)
TRY IT ON:  A Greek god (and Neptune's largest moon) containing (circling) the last letter of (close to) troY

20d   Psychic in fair (6)
MEDIUM:  A straightforward double definition

23d   Very loud, but ultimately quiet (4)
SOFT:  Assemble a short synonym of very, the musical abbreviation for loud, and the last letter of buT (but, ultimately)


Thanks to today’s setter for a most enjoyable solve.  I'm awarding favourite honours this week to 4d and 23d, which I thought were two outstanding examples of the cryptic composer's art.  Which clues did you like best?


The Quick Crossword pun:  WRECK+AMEND=RECOMMEND

54 comments on “DT 28703

  1. It was all going so well until 22a totally stumped me. Don’t think I’ve ever had a jolly time in that sort of gaff! 16d my favourite. Thanks for the hints and to the setter.

  2. Ooops first in line today some oldies and goodies 11d making another appearance (I think).
    Very enjoyable solve today with some excellent clues.
    Happy 50th Jeremy I wont see that again!
    Thanks to Mr K and setter

  3. 22a my favourite in this solver-friendly, well-constructed Tuesday puzzle. Nothing obscure, just solid clueing throughout, and 2* /4* for me. Thanks to both Misters involved.

  4. There is nothing not to like in this puzzle. I cannot say i am a great fan of the eateries mentioned in 22ac but The Huntsman in Dunchurch does do a rather good one although it is rather like going back in time to the 1970s. Thanks to the blogger Mr K and thanks to our setter today. Mr Mutch, Happy birthday to you. It is just over a year until my next birthday.

      1. You seem to be having some trouble with your rs today, BD – you nearly wished our lurker a happy bithday!

        I’m taking a break from backpagers for a while, so with apologies to today’s setter am just popping in to add my own birthday greeting. Happy Birthday Jeremy. :)

        1. Happy Birthday from me too, Jeremy.

          (This would be a good day on which to delurk :) )

  5. 2* / 4*. Great fun, with podium places going to 22a, 4d & 23d. I suppose I ought to add 13d to the list as it got my vote yesterday because it’s such a nice word.

    Many thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K.

  6. Pleasantly thought-provoking exercise with usual smattering of sport references. I have certainly never come across 7downs at a dentist – ancient magazines, yes! Failed to parse ‘on’ in 4d and tried to justify ‘fort’ for 23d. Fav 26a with 22d running up after much thought. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  7. Enjoyable puzzle – although a bit taxing in places (thus justly earning the difficulty score given by Mr. K.). I’m pretty confident that 7d is a chestnut! As for 13d, as the reviewer says, that one is certainly a golden oldie – in my experience turning up thrice in the last month or so (perhaps a chestnut appearing three or more times in the course of a single month could earn the ‘bonkers conker’ epithet?). Favourite: 26a for the very nice turn of phrase. Thanks to all.

    1. 13d seems to fall in and out of favour. I have a 2003 back-page appearance and then nothing until 2008, where it was used three times. Then it’s seen only a few times in the following ten years, until its recent show of popularity.

      I do wonder in cases like that if the word in question was publicised somewhere in a headline or a quote, and then added by some setters to their lists of interesting words for use in future puzzles.

  8. Thanks for a most helpful set of hints – I’m learning so much (I’m a relative newcomer to cryptic crosswords). A most enjoyable solve today.

  9. Very enjoyable although I have wasted a lot of time on 9a and 4d simply because I wrote in 3d with middle letters transposed. That’ll teach me to check back more carefully if stuck!

  10. On holiday still and rattled through this feeling very pleased with myself until crashing up against the last few. 4d, 9a not helped by misspelling 3d and finally 23d LOI. A lot of fun thanks to the setter and Mr K pleased to finish before the hints were published

  11. Very nice crossword 😃 on my wavelength */*** 😬 I would like the name of the dental practice in 7d, but then again probably couldn’t afford it 😏 Favourites 8d & 16d. Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter

  12. Pleased to see that I’m not the only one who invariably spells 3d incorrectly! That gave me a problem with 9a which was one of the last to fall along with 16&23d.

    Nice to see 13d again so soon – keeps its podium spot from yesterday and is joined by 18&22a plus 23d from today.

    Thanks to Mr Ron for an enjoyable puzzle and to Mr K for another informative blog. Don’t think I’ll be tempted to try my real ale namesake but I loved the 1d clip. How does she manage to produce such a marvellous sound without seemingly having to make any effort – what a talent.

    1. After giving it a great deal of thought, I’ll take the kitten, the guy in the anorak and the free piggy back ride – thank you, Mr. K.

      1. Thanks, Jane, I’m glad that you appreciated a few of the hidden extras.

        Here’s some more of the guy in the anorak:

        1. Umm – upon reflection maybe I’ll just borrow his anorak for my piggy back ride……….

  13. Didn’t really enjoy that but probably just me in a grump. 1d troubled me a bit. I think triple definitions are usually 1 definition too many and only make me doubt myself. The dentist in 7d seemed redundant too but I will blame my dentist. Some ancient readers digest’ and an ever diminishing tank of tropical fish were a poor diversion from the torture ahead. I thought the phone in 26a was similarly redundant until I realised it was a homophone indicator for the 1st word of the answer.
    I doubt that a trip to the toughie will restore my confidence but I’ll give it a go.
    Thanks to Mr K for the hints and pics the setter too for an interesting puzzle.

  14. After a slow and difficult start it did fall together quite nicely but not without a lot of head scratching. A tricky puzzle for me that took a fair while to get on the radar. As Mr K pointed out a lot of misdirection in some clues that I ultimately fell for. A fair puzzle that stretched my ability but still enjoyable. Last in 23d a lot to put together there for a four letter answer needed Mr K’s help with that one

    Clues of the day: 26a / 16d

    Rating 3.5* / 3.5*

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  15. ****/****. It gets four stars for difficulty but only because I didn’t spell 3d correctly having successfully parsed it. This took me a long time to resolve. 26a was my favourite. Thanks to all.

  16. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, 24a made me laugh as a member of CAMRA. Needed the hints to parse 22a. Favourite was 23d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  17. Tuesday puzzles invariably seem to be slow burners these days and this was one was no exception, by the end I had thoroughly enjoyed it after doubting initially that I would.

    Odd to see 13d appearing on successive days, but such coincidences are not uncommon as our blogger knows better than most and has the data to prove it. My top three clues were 21a, 22a (my LOI, extremely clever) and 2d.

    Many thanks to setter and Mr K.

    1. “Slow burner” is a very apt description of this puzzle, especially since I thought it ended on a high with the brilliant 23d.

      For anyone who didn’t read through the long comment thread on repeated answers referenced in the hint for 13d, the summary result is this: We expect by chance to see the same answer repeated in puzzles on consecutive days about ten times a year, and that’s consistent with what actually happens.

  18. Take car away from carvery ? This was a real blunt instrument , so much so I looked for something else ; ultimately this became the last but one in . 23d was last and I needed the hint , grrrrr. A good test today but a wee bit pedantic (triple defs and all that ) in places .My favourite was 7d . Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty . ***/***

  19. It took ages to get going but enjoyed it once I found a foothold.
    I didn’t know the eatery in 22a so missed that one completely, and had to use electronic help for 16d, not on my radar at all.
    My fave was 26a but lots of good stuff here.
    Thanks to setter and to Mr. Kitty, needed your hints today. Loved the pic at 18a.

  20. For me this was one of the best offerings for a long time. My thanks to the setter.
    No real favourites as I loved them all.
    My thanks also to the Royal Navy for teaching me how to spell 3d!!

  21. Am l the only one who did not enjoy this one much? I thought the clues clunky and rather forced. Finished it but without my usual happy grin.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Di Woodward, and thanks for commenting.

      I liked this puzzle but, as the comments above make clear, you’re certainly not the only solver who didn’t rank it high for enjoyment.

  22. Found this quite hard work – having worked out the 1a anagram that gave me a quick flourish but then got stuck on three of the lower down clues. The hints were much needed and appreciated.

  23. This one was so clever. Again I needed (a little) help from here but no shame in that I guess.
    Favourite has to be the smart clever lurker in 14a, if only for the illustration of the iconic Mr Gallagher.

  24. Puzzle’s great, but the burning question is….. Where’s Jeremy?

    Many Happy Returns. (’68 was a top year, say I)

    Many thanks for the entertaining blog Mr K, 12a pic amused me :smile:

  25. Needed the hints for 22a and 23d. Enjoyed it apart from 1d which seemed too obvious. Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  26. This one took us a little longer than most mid-week back page puzzles and was heaps of fun. Particularly appreciated the two four letter answers in the SE, 22a and 23d. Thought they were both very clever clues.
    Thanks Mr Ron and Mr K.

  27. Truly enjoyable puzzle today, made even more satisfying by the *** difficulty rating. I am bemused by 7d – the setter must go to a very posh dentist if they have those there, rather than well thumbed magazines 🙂. Even the two cricket clues didn’t “stump” me today, but I did need Mr K’s help for 16d, my sports knowledge limited to keeping quiet while my Dad checked the football pools. Big thanks to setter for this puzzle.

  28. I’m definitely in the “like” camp.
    Agree with Mr K on 4d and 23d but a few others stood out such as 2d, 17d and 19d.
    Remembered the carveries. Used to go to the one at the Marble Arch hotel. Such a debauchery of meat. Could eat as much as you want. Can’t remember seeing vegetables though.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  29. An enjoyable *** for difficulty. Never stuck, just a puzzle where each clue required a little thought before it fell. Last in 16d.

  30. Struggle with anything to do with sport so that didn’t help matters. Needed help for 3 clues. As an ex- dentist I was looking for something a bit better for 7d. As ever, a good mental exercise and start to the day.

  31. Top end 1* difficulty, say 3.5* for enjoyment. I liked 16d, although l fear it would have meant little to some, but found 7d a bit weak. Thanks to the setter, and Mr Kitty.

  32. Nice crossword! Slow to start but thereafter a steady solve. Favourites were 1a because of the answer and 22a because it was my last entry and it made me think a while.
    2/4* overall.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his review.

  33. I haven’t had time to print today’s puzzle off but I’ve enjoyed the review. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty

  34. Not a huge fan today but could have been me, of course. Reason: 7d – a DD and neither definition was a go one and other clues a bit the same.

    **/** with some clues being **** for difficulty

  35. I thought this one was above average for a Tuesday back-pager. A reasonable challenge and very enjoyable. 3* / 4*

  36. 8d and 16d were last to go in .. no surprises re 16d – detailed sports knowledge required here and hey ho – SO not my forte. Even googling London rugby clubs didn’t help but eventually with the wordplay and the hint (just how clunky does that all sound) I guessed at the answer and hey ho it was right!

    8d was entirely my fault for misspelling the answer to 12a – (hang my head in shame) so that I couldn’t get anything that meant ‘free’ or ‘gets free’ from the crossing letters even though I got the American soldiers – how SLOW can one get ? duh!!

    13a was one of my fave clues d

  37. It’s not good crossword making when another valid answer fits the same clue. 9 across could equally have been Gagarin

    1. Welcome to the blog.

      It’s true that Gagarin could work as an answer if the entire clue is the definition. However, in that case the clue would be nothing more than a straight definition with no wordplay, which is not generally recognized as a valid type of cryptic clue. Further, as BD points out, getting any of the four checkers immediately rules out that interpretation.

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